Civic Centre – Wigan Again

I’ve been here before, no not in some strange déjà vu sense.

I’ve been here before – look!

Three years on, now in the shadow of the newly built Life Centre, you stand alone unloved – empty.

But the future of the Modernist landmark, which was first put in service by the borough in the early 70s, remains unclear. There is speculation that the Millgate building, first unveiled by Wigan Mayor John Farrimond, could become a hotel.

Last October the Wigan Observer revealed how the council had enjoyed mixed fortunes when it came to marketing elements of its existing property portfolio.

But the council has been successful in offloading some venues, with Ince Town Hall now home to Little Giggles nursery.

So who knows what fate awaits you – the town I am told is on the up.

Let’s hope that the Civic Centre is not coming down

Sam’s Bar – Wigan

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Sam’s Bar – Orchard St, Wigan WN1 3SW.

Once there was The Ball and Boot – oval or round, no dubbin required.

A Tetley Walker pub on the edge of the then new Scholes Estate – seen here in 1987.

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Photograph Tower Block

This is the one and only photograph of its former black and white self.

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Though an internet search revealed a rich heritage of pool, football, fancy dress and trips to Lloret De Mar, for the lads and lasses of Lower Scholes.

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The pub now named Sam’s Bar, has retained its jolly jumble of modernist volumes and angles – though having lost the harlequin panels and off licence. Mid-morning the lights were on and the pub was surrounded by cars taking advantage of the £1.90 a day parking.

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The online reviews seem to divide opinion as to the quality of the current provision.

This pub is not a nice place to visit. If your not a regular you get leered at all night, the people and staff are absolutly terrible. You will wait at the bar all night waiting to get served, whilst all the regulars get their drinks. Then and only then will you get yours. You will see a fight at least once a night. Karaoke is only for those of us who are blessed with the ability to sing – they wont let you up again if not. This pub needs knocking down it’s a menace to society, out of 10 a big fat 0.

Solid, dependable and well-run. Friendly bar staff and regulars, local and national newspapers, rugby league memorabilia, jukebox, pool table, and very fair prices. Has been my local for years, ever since I got tired of the landlord turnover at the Cherries. I’ve never seen anyone refused a go at karaoke, including me, and I can’t sing, and rarely pick a song anyone likes. So you carry on spouting tripe, and I’ll carry on drinking at Sam’s Bar Scholes.

Beer in the evening.

You’ll have to swing by and judge for y’self – my own karaoke tune of choice as ever:

In The Ghetto.

 

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Wigan – Civic Centre

Some time ago, over a year ago or so I went to Wigan.

I found a pub,  a launderette, several interesting groups of housing and –

A large concrete Civic Centre, built in the early 1970s under the auspices of the Mayor JT Farrimond, the foundation stone laid by Alderman Ernest Ball on 22nd April 1970 – a man who seems to have collected letters after his name just for fun.

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A tight grid structure is broken up with chamfered  window fames and a mix of concrete finishes, surfaces and textures, slipping neatly into the inclined topography.

A rather distinguished cantilevered canopy or two sit centrally over the entrance porch.

The building no longer offers public access, services having been transferred to the nearby Life Centre.

The Manchester Modernists have highlighted the centre in its new Top Ten Twentieth Century Buildings project.

Why not bob along, see what you think and remember – vote, vote, vote!

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Wigan – Rylands Mill

I’m no Urbex man, when all’s said and done, I feel the fear and the weight of the past, I guess I’m just a little too sensitive. So I made cautious ingress into this giant mill complex, always aware of the feet that trod this way in former times and a constant threat of the falling fragile structure.

The surfaces have, since it’s last occupants left, been shaped by intruders, the weather, taggers, blaggers, bloggers and inquisitive teens, I left only hushed footfalls.

We are all now complicit in its history.

– In 1819, Rylands & Sons were established with their seat of operations being in Wigan.

In the course of a few years extensive properties at Wigan, along with dye works and bleach works, were purchased. Valuable seams of coal were afterwards discovered under these properties, and proved a great source of wealth to the purchasers.

The mill was built in 1867, designed by George Woodhouse for John Rylands, one of the area’s largest cotton spinners. The Grade II listed complex includes the former spinning mill, weaving sheds, engine house and chimney, noted for it ornate brickwork.

It has now been acquired by MCR Property Group who are in the process of planning to restore the mill building which will house a mixture of apartments with views over Mesnes Park. The development will also comprise of a number of modern townhouses and office space over four levels.

All current planning applications have been withdrawn, its future remains uncertain.

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Wigan – Washeteria

I loved it.

In the United Kingdom known as launderettes or laundrettes, and in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand as laundromats or washeterias, and in Frimley too it would appear.

George Edward Penury created the word laundromat for Westinghouse.

According to NALI the National Association of the Launderette Industry, numbers peaked at 12,500 in the early 80s but have since dwindled to just 3,000.

The first UK launderette – alternative spelling: laundrette. was opened on May 9th 1949 in Queensway London.

In Wigan they never closed.

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Wigan – The Pagefield Hotel

Like many large Edwardian pubs The Pagefield is now closed, though of great social, architectural and historical importance, the economics of industrial decline and changing patterns of leisure almost always point to a change of use rather than reopening as a boozer.  Though more commonly becoming a Tesco or Sainsbury’s, plans have been submitted for both conversion to flats and a possible Indian Restaurant, neither seem imminent.

The building is blessed with etched and stained glass windows, a richness of architectural type, mosaic porch and a grandeur in scale and detailing. Once serving a high density of housing in the Springfield area, the mills that fuelled the economy of the area are now long gone, along with the wages that bounced over the bar.

It was named after the Pagefield iron rolling mills which were just down the road – thanks to Steven Buckley for the inside track, his great grandfathers worked at the mill.

Originally a Bolton based brewery Magee and Marshall owned the pub, passing to Greenall Whitley and then the usual succession of entrepreneurial pub companies.

“Magee Marshall & Company was a brewery that operated from the Crown Brewery in Bolton. It was founded by David Magee, a brewer and spirit merchant in 1853. He moved from the Good Samaritan Brewhouse to the Crown Hotel in the 1860s and built the Crown Brewery in Derby Street next to the hotel. After his death he was succeeded by his sons, who acquired David Marshall’s Grapes Brewery and the Horseshoe Brewery. The company was registered as Magee Marshall & Company Ltd. in 1888. The company acquired Henry Robinson’s Brewery in Wigan and Halliwell’s Alexandra Brewery. In 1959 it was acquired by Greenall and Whitley and closed in 1970.

The brewery, built around 1900, was in the “traditional brewery style” with a five-storey section for gravity processing and an ornamental tower. Up to the 1950s the company transported water, high in dissolved calcium carbonate content, in tankers by rail from Burton on Trent for the brewing process.”

 

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The original Pagefield

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